Monday, June 29, 2009

The Beginnings -- A Voice For The Movement

Here is an excellently worded message to President Obama.

Congress Voted for Cap & Trade Without Reading It!

They could not possibly have read it. The bill had not even been printed when the vote took place.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

ABC Sotomayor Poll Results Puzzling

I just heard on the radio that an ABC News poll indicates a "majority" of Americans do not believe that supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor would use her sex or her race as a factor in her decisions on the supreme court. They think she's "about right".

That is despite the fact that Sotomayor herself has said "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Since supreme court justices are supposed to be impartial, that is a very disturbing statement. We are a nation of laws, not men. Or women. Or whites. Or hispanics.

I have to wonder exactly who this poll polled. It sounds like just another bit of propaganda from the national media to me.

House Minority Leader Boehner Has Choice Words for Cap & Trade Bill

Gotta love this guy... I'd have some choice words for the democratic aide who quipped "What do you expect from a guy who thinks global warming is caused by cow manure?". I'd say of the aide "What do you expect from a guy who thinks global warming is caused by humans?"

Scientific illiterate -- there is no way to prove it's caused by either, and it may not be happening at all. Yet, the federal government stands poised to "solve" the problem, as if they have a proven solution. They have an expensive boondoggle, I'll grant you that. If I were a cynic (wait -- I am!), I would say that it is really just a way to increase taxes and federal control over We the People. I wish We the People weren't so easily fooled.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rick Larsen's Rationale for Voting for Waxman-Markey

Rick Larsen responded to my plea not to vote for the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill -- with this rationalization (with my reaction in italics):

Dear Mr. Uppiano:

Today I voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). This bill passed the House of Representatives 219-212. I would like to take the opportunity to explain my decision to you.

For me, this issue boils down to three words: Washington state jobs.

Staying or leaving?

The American Clean Energy and Security Act is really a clean energy economic engine that will harvest American innovation to create millions of new jobs in the private sector, including family-wage manufacturing jobs that can't be shipped overseas, jobs building wind turbines and installing appliances to make homes more energy efficient, and jobs turning agricultural and forest products into clean, renewable energy.

That's very speculative. You're sure that wind turbines can't be built overseas? In fact, I think some are. Installing them is a temporary demand. Besides, wind turbines will not fly. They're not reliable or efficient. Can you imagine environmentalists, or anyone within view, allowing wind turbines to be built on every hillcrest in America? I can't.

Turning agricultural and forest products into clean, renewable energy? It takes lots of energy to grow agricultural products for energy, at the cost of affordable food! And can you imagine environmentalists allowing us to use trees for energy? I can't.

Second, this clean energy jobs bill will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce pollution and strengthen our national security.

Please explain.

H.R. 2454 implements a "cap-and-trade" system to manage emissions. This means putting an economy-wide cap on carbon emissions and reducing that cap over time. Regulated entities, which would include electric utilities, transportation fuel producers, and any industrial facility that emits more than 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, would be required to have government-issued permits, called allowances, to legally pollute. Polluters would be allowed to trade these allowances with one another to ensure the most cost-effective emission reduction improvements are being made in our economy. Companies that have extra allowances can sell them. Companies that don't have enough allowances will be able to buy them on the open market or take steps to reduce their carbon emissions.

Government issued permits to pollute? Just what we need, another bureaucracy to mind our business -- the opposite of liberty.

Allowances to pollute? Just like papal indulgences -- nice religious overtones there. Doesn't the first amendment have something to say about that (non-establishment)?

That accepts the premise that CO2 is a pollutant. The SCOTUS declaring CO2 to be a pollutant impresses me about as much as the 1897 Indiana legislature declaring π to be rational. CO2 is an essential component of all life on earth. And brewing beer.

I have worked to ensure that we get the best possible clean energy jobs bill for Washington state and the 2nd Congressional District. That means a bill that works for local families worried about the high cost of paying their heating bills and filling up the gas tank; a bill that works for workers at Ferndale's Intalco plant; a bill that works for Boeing workers and contractors; a bill that works for local farmers; and a bill that works for the nearly 2,500 workers at Northwest Washington's four refineries.

Please explain.

During the past year, I have reached out to local clean energy companies, utilities, farmers, conservationists, local governments and small businesses, and they have all told me that comprehensive energy reform must take into account the unique attributes of the Pacific Northwest - our use of hydropower, our family farms, our energy-intensive industries and the family-wage jobs they support, and our long-standing commitment to renewable energy.

Our hydropower is just part of the national electric grid. When electricity becomes more expensive, it becomes more expensive for all. Renewable energy will happen when it becomes practical, not by government edict.

Since Congress began crafting comprehensive energy reform, we have made great progress for the 2nd District, Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. I brought local concerns to Washington, D.C. and delivered them to congressional leaders including Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and Rep. Gene Green of Texas. Here are some of the local issues I have worked on in this bill. Most of them boil down to one word: jobs:

Jobs at Refineries: Local refineries in my district employ nearly 2,500 workers and contractors. Whatcom and Skagit Counties alone depend on over $200 million in wages from refineries each year. I am pleased that the American Clean Energy and Security Act provides two percent of allowances for refiners (an improvement over the zero percent we started with) and removes the unworkable low-carbon fuel standard to help protect these good-paying jobs in our community.

As I said in a letter to you before, fiddling with carbon credits is pointless, because it accepts the premise that CO2 is a pollutant, and that we have some proven need to reduce it. We do not. We have no proof that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is even a problem that needs to be solved, nor that expensive measures to reduce CO2 will have any measurable effect on AGW.

Jobs at Intalco: I support a provision (the Inslee-Doyle provision) to help protect jobs at Alcoa's Ferndale smelter and other energy-industries from being shipped overseas by giving them the emissions allowances they need to continue doing business here in the Unites States.

Again, this is just like buying and selling papal indulgences. You allow more "pollution" because you can justify it. So can every congressman in every district. This is a joke. It would be funny if it weren't so serious.

Bonneville Power Administration: In the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is the original clean, renewable energy. I have worked hard to ensure that my constituents' pocketbooks are protected in this legislation, and that Washington state is rewarded, not punished, for its long-standing use of zero-carbon electricity. I am pleased that some emissions allowances will be awarded to utilities based on how many households are served, a provision that is beneficial for our area. However, I do have concerns about the so-called "anti-windfall provision" that could have unintended consequences for utilities in the Northwest. I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the final bill includes the protections we need to help keep energy prices low for local families.

As I said earlier, Washington State is just part of the national power grid. You can shuffle indulgences all you want, but the overall effect will be disastrous. Everything that uses energy to produce it will cost more. Much of this comes from states that use coal to generate electricity. Maybe if you would promote the use of modern nuclear energy technology and breeder reactors (for renewable energy) I could support this.

Using Washington resources for clean energy: The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of woody biomass - the trees and woody plants that are the by-products of forest management - that can be used to produce clean, renewable energy. This bill will allow the use of woody biomass for this purpose, giving the Northwest a leg up in this valuable production of energy, creating jobs and providing the Forest Service with the tools it needs for proper wildfire management.

All new technology looks good when there are few users. The problems become evident when there are 300 million users. The fact that we actually have relatively few, and quite manageable problems with billions using fossil fuel (the made-up AGW problem notwithstanding), is a testament to how well it works. I am not opposed to experimenting and innovating with new technology, but we don't need the government to say it's OK. Governments can't bestow rights -- they're already ours. Governments can only deny rights.

Opportunities for local farmers: After much work over the last two weeks, this bill now rewards innovation on our local farms and opens the door for Northwest Washington farmers to make money from their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Another government subsidy for farmers? Great. This won't be a boondoggle. No, of course not.

Aviation: In Washington state, aviation plays a huge role in our local economy. I worked to remove a provision in the American Clean Energy and Security Act that would have burdened the aviation industry with unnecessary regulation that could have hurt their business and the local jobs that depend on it.

Good that you eliminated some unnecessary regulation. Now, can we agree on what's necessary?

Renewable energy efficiency standard: The legislation ensures that Washington state's renewable energy standard (I-937, which was passed by the voters of Washington state) is protected and not overruled by the proposed federal standard.

Hmmm. Maybe one aspect doesn't encroach on states' rights. I'm still skeptical.

Good Wages for Labor: I am also pleased that this bill helps ensure that workers are paid a fair wage for their work by complying with Davis-Bacon rules for prevailing wages.

How about just allowing all wages to float to their true market value, and leave it at that?

The American Clean Energy and Security Act will create jobs, make our local economy stronger and protect Washington state for the next generation. Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to contact me again about this or other issues of concern for you.

Rick, I really enjoyed your town meeting in Ferndale a few weeks back. You seem like a nice guy, and you seem to have some actual intelligence about you (unlike our two senators), but I am very concerned that you are not concerned enough with individual liberty. Please read my limited government amendment proposal.

Rick Larsen
United States RepresentativeWashington State, 2nd District

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and Trade Could Be Repealed

While the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill will insert the federal government into every aspect of production and commerce, and be perhaps the largest tax increase in US history, the good news is that it would be fairly easy to repeal, compared to social entitlements like nationalized health care.

We should fight this tooth and nail, but we really need to prepare for the fight against the national health plan. It is sad that so few Americans really understand what is happening to their liberty here.

Even if the Republicans get back in congress in two years, they won't be able to undo all of the damage that has occurred to our liberty in the past two years. Furthermore, all too few Republicans really understand limited government, so they would only be slightly better than the statists that we have now.

Campaign Against Cap & Trade

Nancy Pelosi is trying to force the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill to a vote tomorrow. The following members of congress still need to be convinced that Cap & Trade is a bad idea:

  • Bartlett (MD)
  • Bono Mack (CA)
  • Castle (DE)
  • Dent (PA)
  • Ehlers (MI)
  • Frelinghuysen (NJ)
  • Gerlach (PA)
  • Inglis (SC)
  • Tim Johnson (IL)
  • Kirk (IL)
  • Lance (NJ)
  • LoBiondo (NJ)
  • Petri (WI)
  • Platts (PA)
  • Ros-Lehtinen (FL)


  • Altmire (PA)
  • Bright (AL)
  • Dahlkemper (PA)
  • Drieshaus (OH)
  • Ellsworth (IN)
  • Kissell (NC)
  • Kratovil (MD)
  • Kanjorski (PA)
  • Minnick (ID)
  • Teague (NM)

You can call them at at 202-224-3121 and say something like:

I am not in your district, but as an American, I will be directly affected by your vote on the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill. I cannot vote for you in the next congressional election, but I can contribute to you or your opponent -- depending on how you vote. I am going to keep track, and contribute aggressively.

With that in mind, please consider my most emphatic opposition to the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill that is being stampeded through congress this week. This bill will have a minuscule impact on our climate, and a devastating impact on our economy and our individual liberty. It will give the federal government unprecedented influence over production and commerce. A statist would like that, but a classical liberal definitely would not. Please listen to the voters, and reject this bill.

If you call, use your own words of course, and include your own concerns. The only encouraging thing about this is that Cap & Trade can be repealed easily, whereas a new entitlement program like nationalized health care (the next big assault on our liberty) cannot. One thing at a time, I guess.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Letter to Congressman Larsen

Dear Congressman Larsen,

When I attended your town hall meeting in Ferndale, you said that you made most of your decisions based on your personal principles, and not so much on voter input, relying instead on the fact that if we don't like your decisions, we can vote you out of office in the next election.

While that is true to a degree, it still allows a lot of votes in congress to occur against our wishes. Bills, once passed, that cannot be easily removed later. It is very difficult to regain liberty once it is lost.

With that in mind, please consider my most emphatic opposition to the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill that is being stampeded through congress this week. This bill represents the largest tax increase and government power grab in our history. If it becomes law, the cost of absolutely everything will go up, and the federal government will gain control of practically every aspect of production and consumption in this country. A statist would like that, but a classical liberal definitely would not. Please listen to the voters, and reject this bill.

Karl Uppiano

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Updated Limited Government Amendment

I added the the following paragraph to the Limited Government Amendment proposal:

Therefore, in the beginning, congress will be required to delete the number of laws, taxes, programs, bureaucracies or regulations for each new one that it creates, that allows us to reach the target 1930 size and scope in 78 years. When we reach the target, then the number shall equal one, to maintain the steady state.
This should simplify the size reduction process. It should be easy to calculate the number of laws taxes, programs, bureaucracies or regulations to delete to stay on the target trajectory.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My New Alternative to Twitter

I'm thinking of starting a new service as an alternative to Twitter, except with no message length limitation. I think I'll call it "Blather". Posts on Blather will be called "blats". People who post on Blather will be called "blatters". Yeah, that sounds bad when you say it out loud. Say it, don't spray it. Get it? Oh, nevermind.

Barack Obama -- Figured Out (Updated)

Earlier, I said Barack Obama is using the principle it's easier to get forgiveness than to get permission. He just does what he wants in the hopes that no one will challenge him. So far, neither congress nor the mainstream media have challenged him. Instead of being his watchdogs, they're his lapdogs.

Actually, I had Barack Obama figured out long before the election -- before the primaries even. I diagnosed him as a "self-serving socialist sociopath". I am not a psychologist, but I believe this assessment is accurate and alliterative. Now, you might have me pegged as being anti-Obama. Well, yes. If my diagnosis is correct, I'd have to be demented to support such a president.
  • Self-serving: Look at his behavior, his statements, his demeanor, his history. He is obviously self-serving and self-aggrandizing.
  • Socialist: His remarks about redistributing wealth, his anti-capitalist statements, the people he associates with, put him clearly -- if not extremely -- in the socialist camp.
  • Sociopath: Compare these symptoms with Obama's behavior. He exhibits many of them to one degree or another. Obviously, psychological disorders are a matter of degree, and they do not reach clinical levels unless the person cannot function in society. Sociopaths do tend to be very functional, but harmful to others. If my diagnosis is correct, with his role and actions as president, Obama elevates the syndrome to an art form.

I oppose Barack Obama because he is unconstitutionally and extra-constitutionally concentrating power in the federal government at the expense of states' rights and individual liberty. Sadly, that is ultimately harmful even to the people he claims to help -- minorities and the poor.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Proposal: A Limited Government Amendment

The Constitution of the United States, along with the Bill of Rights, is the contract between the US Government and We the People. Today, the US Government is in serious breach of contract. It has assumed powers, rights and responsibilities not granted by The Constitution, thus eroding the liberty of We the People. Given enough time, no law goes un-passed, no program goes un-created, no bureaucracy goes un-commissioned and no regulation goes un-imposed, and our liberty goes to zero.

Although this country's founders created one of the most brilliant governments in the history of mankind, they did not take steps to prevent the inexorable, monotonic expansion of our government that we experienced in the 20th century, and which continues to this day. Indeed, in the beginning, the US Government probably seemed a bit underpowered for the task at hand. It probably needed some healthy growth back then. I believe that growth has eclipsed their wildest dreams. We have reached a situation where we now need to put an upper limit on the size and scope of government while we still can. We need a Limited Government Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The basic concept of the Limited Government Amendment is quite simple, really:

  • Congress shall pass no new law without repealing an existing one.
  • Congress shall create no new tax without deleting an existing one.
  • Congress shall create no new government program without deleting an existing one.
  • Congress shall commission no new bureaucracy without de-commissioning an existing one.
  • A bureaucracy shall create no new regulation without deleting an existing one (Congress shall delete from existing bureaucracies, the number of new regulations as required by any new bureaucracy).
  • All new laws, taxes, programs, bureaucracies and regulations shall have a sunset provision of seven years. If not renewed within that time, the law, tax, program, bureaucracy or regulation shall lapse. This sunset provision will force a periodic review and a national dialogue to determine if it is having the desired effect, or if it is obsolete.
That's it! Government growth should stop on the day that the Limited Government Amendment takes effect. Note that this amendment makes no prescription as to which law, tax, program, bureaucracy, or regulation to delete. Congress or bureaucrats get to decide that. Given the number of stupid, frivolous and obsolete laws, taxes, programs, bureaucracies and regulations we now have, finding things to cut should be extremely painless, especially in the early going. Eventually though, most of the low-hanging fruit will be gone, and then government officials will find themselves having to prioritize. They will have to decide what is more important -- the new thing or the existing thing. I believe this is a good thing.

I said at the beginning of this article that the US Government is already in serious breach of contract. I think we need to make the Limited Government Amendment retroactive to some earlier time in our history. The question is, when would most people agree that we had the "right" amount of government? We've had two major inflection points during the 20th century: FDR's New Deal, and LBJs Great Society. There was considerable growth during the 1800s, but we were still settling the West. Therefore, I propose that we cap government at the level it was in 1930.

The Limited Government Amendment does not prescribe that we cut any particular part of the New Deal or the Great Society. It simply mandates that the size of government be limited to the number of laws, taxes, programs, bureaucracies and regulations that we had in 1930. It took 78 years for the US Government to reach its present size and scope, so I propose that this amendment should allow 78 years to return to the 1930s size and scope.

Therefore, in the beginning, congress will be required to delete the number of laws, taxes, programs, bureaucracies or regulations for each new one that it creates, that allows us to reach the target 1930 size and scope in 78 years. When we reach the target, then the number shall equal one, to maintain the steady state.

An attempt to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment failed in the 1980s. If passed, it might have slowed government growth slightly, but it did not address the real problem. The Limited Government Amendment would limit the size and scope of government. This should naturally reduce the cost of government. It might even create a surplus in the long run, which, under the terms of this amendment, Congress would have to return to We the People in the form of lower taxes.

The language of the Limited Government Amendment must be phrased in such a way as to circumvent the inevitable attempts by politicians to find loopholes and new ways to grow government. Finally, to prevent misinterpretation by any future activist Supreme Court, we must include in the Limited Government Amendment, a specification that the articles of the amendment say what they mean, and mean what they say, and that they are specifically written in Standard English. They are to be taken literally. They are not to be deconstructed, and there is no hidden agenda or penumbra.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twitter vs. Achmedinajad

This is a fascinating story. Twitter defers scheduled maintenance to midnight Iran time, so that dissidents can continue to communicate.

Time For a Good Liberty Rant

The Constitution specifies a federated government. The US Government is supposed to be a lightweight framework to hold together the several states. The majority of power belongs to the states, and to the people. The people and the states get to choose their own style of government based on their regional needs and preferences. Not the one-size-fits-all, top-down, centrally-planned monstrosity that we've been drifting toward for the past 80 years.

We have all this nasty discourse because when the government starts taking sides, and handing out free stuff at other people's expense, the special interests line up around the block to influence government. And they fight tooth and nail to prevent the unsympathetic party from gaining power, because that wrecking ball swings both ways, baby. Neither party has a lock on inappropriately concentrating power in the federal government, although the Democrats do seem to do it faster than the Republicans do.

One definition of tyranny is special interests using the force of government to shove their agenda down your throat. Down with both political parties! I just want my liberty back!

Limiting the Federal Government Might Not Matter

In light of this video, it might not matter what happens with our government. We could be wasting our time.

Barack Obama -- Figured Out

Barack Obama is using the principle it's easier to get forgiveness than to get permission. He just does what he wants in the hopes that no one will challenge him. So far, neither congress nor the mainstream media have challenged him. Instead of being his watchdogs, they're his lapdogs.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Letter to Congressman Larsen

Dear Congressman Larsen,

Thank you for holding the town meeting in Ferndale this Saturday. I had a couple of comments, but time ran out, so I'm sending it here.

I was pleased to hear that you thought that Waxman's cap & trade bill is flawed, but I was dismayed that your objection seemed to be wrapped up in quibbling over the allocation of carbon credits.

As a life-long student of science and the philosophy of science, as well as an amateur meteorologist who knows the difficulty in getting accurate climate data, I was frustrated that you appear to have accepted the premise:

1. That global warming (now A.K.A. climate change, because evidence of warming is diminishing) is a problem that has, or needs, a solution (least of all a government solution).

2. That CO2 is a pollutant (The Supreme Court decision doesn't impress me any more than the 1897 Indiana legislature declaring PI to be rational).

3. That the science is settled. Concensus is no substitute for the truth. A true scientist is skeptical, and seeks the truth, not a hug.

Cap & trade, or carbon tax, or whatever you want to call it, will not "punish" polluters. It will merely increase the cost of everything -- from food and transportation, refrigeration and home heating to recreational activities. It will punish everyone, and it will situate the federal government squarely in the middle of practically everything we ever do. It is a central government power grab of historical proportions. Please do not stand by and allow individual liberty to be decimated in this way.

Like it or not, the US Constitution does not grant the government the authority to "save the planet". One definition of tyranny is special interests using the force of government to ram their agenda down my throat. If Al Gore or Nancy Pelosi want us to save the planet, they have the first amendment right to make the case to convince We the People to do so of our own free will.

Finally, be careful what you wish for. Alternative energy can be seductive. The flaws in new technology are rarely evident when only a few people are using it. When 300 million are, the problems become obvious when it is too late. For example, do you think environmentalists (or even land owners within view) will allow windmills on every hillcrest in the country? How about solar collectors? I don't think so. That 300 million people use fossil fuel with surprisingly few problems is a clue that we shouldn't be too hasty to throw it out.

Karl Uppiano

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Sent This to My Elected Reps...

Dear Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen,

I sent the following message to President Obama, but it's for you too.

Dear President Obama,

Please, please, please DO NOT nationalize health care! The United States has the best health care system in the world. By nationalizing health care, you will reduce our liberty in ways that we cannot even imagine. I do not want the Federal Government to have that much power over me and my family.

The Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government in that role. For the federal government to abide by the powers enumerated in the Constitution, it will have to roll back nearly 100 years of growth, and return that power to the states and the people.

I know that isn't what you or most statists want to hear, but it's true.

Karl Uppiano

I'll post their responses as/if they come in...